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ODOT struggling to find snowplow drivers ahead of winter

ODOT says they are struggling to find enough snowplow drivers

HILLIARD, Ohio — Winter is coming soon and the Ohio Department of Transportation is getting ready for snow and icy roads.

While crews are making sure their trucks are ready, ODOT says they are also struggling to find people to drive them. They're working to find 500 snowplow drivers statewide.

"Finding qualified workers to fill these positions has been a bigger challenge this year," said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks. "We know that many other entities and industries are facing the same challenges." 

ODOT says most drivers work 12-16 hour shifts during snow events.

"It's no secret that CDL drivers are in high-demand right now. Like many other employers across the state, we are in search of qualified workers to fill those spots. Our priority is always to have safe and clear roads, but the speed that we're able to accomplish that may have to change this year if we're unable to fill those open positions," Niese Duguid said.

Although drivers are in short supply, salt is not. ODOT says they currently have more than 662,000 tons of salt on hand.

Last winter, ODOT crews used 141,000 tons of salt and spent about $23 million on snow and ice operations in central Ohio alone.

Crews drove nearly 1.6 million miles on the roadway, which is the same as driving around I-270 about 29,000 times.

While drivers work to keep the roads safe, ODOT wants other drivers to give plow trucks plenty of room. Last winter, 46 plow trucks were struck across the state.

The winter season officially kicks off on Dec. 21.

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